If the Avatar exists as CIPs, how can something as “impersonal” and physiological as that have any kind of “will,” much less free will. Let us recall that “will” is little more than an intent that is often coupled with bodily actions to achieve the intent. This kind of thing occurs even in the circuitry that controls unconscious minds. These circuits automatically generate actions in response to conditions that call for a response. Such actions are stereotyped and inflexible whenever they are controlled without conscious oversight (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1 llustration of how alternative ideas or choices may be processed in the brain. Each alternative is represented as circuit impulse patterns (CIPs) within a subpopulation of brain, which be considered as constituting part of the sub- or non-conscious mind. Each population’s activity interacts with the others — and with the CIP representation of the Conscious Avatar. When activity level in any one subpopulation reaches a threshold, it suppresses activity in the alternative representation populations, leading to selection of that population’s activity as the choice result. The Avatar CIP is poised to influence activity in the alternative sub-populations and thus can help direct the final processing result.
The Avatar must have some criteria which its circuits use to make a given decision. Those criteria have been learned and remembered. When CIP processes operate in Avatar circuitry, the Avatar population activity can modulate the alternative-choice representations in the context of self-awareness according to the informational representations of past learning and value assessments of current contingencies. You might say that when the brain generated the CIPs to represent the sense of self, those CIPs were endowed with a certain autonomy and freedom of action not available to the other CIPs in the brain that constituted unconscious mind.
People who believe that humans have no free will are hard-pressed to explain why no one is responsible for their choices and actions. What is it that compels foolish or deviant behavior? Is our Avatar compelled to believe in God or to be an atheist? Is our Avatar compelled to accept one moral code over any other? Is it compelled to become a certain kind of person, with no option to “improve” itself in any self-determined way? Are we compelled in our choices of learning experiences? If so, what or who does the compelling? Are we inevitable victims of genetics and experience?
It seems to this Avatar that current debates about determinism and free will tend to obscure the important matters of our humanness. The door to understanding what is really going on is slammed shut by assertions that value choices and the decisions that flow from them cannot be free because they are caused by neural circuit impulse patterns. Free will debates distract us from a proper framing of the issues about human choices and personal responsibility.
While it is true that Avatar circuitry is programmed by genetics and experience, the Avatar makes choices about who to interact with and what experiences to value, promote, and allow. The Avatar can insist that some lessons of experience need to be remembered. In short, the Avatar gets to help shape what it becomes.
 Klemm, W. R. 2011. Atoms of Mind. New York: Springer. http://www.springer.com/biomed/neuroscience/book/978-94-007-1096-2